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Walker Evans: Cuba

  • Essay by Andrei Codrescu
    Introduction by Judith Keller

    In 1933, Walker Evans traveled to Cuba to take photographs for The Crime of Cuba, a book by American journalist Carleton Beals. Beals's explicit goal was to expose the corruption of dictator Gerardo Machado and the torturous relationship between the United States and its island neighbor. Evans's photographs are fascinating both for their subject matter and the evidence they provide of his artistic development. This volume brings together more than sixty of these images—all from the J. Paul Getty Museum's extensive holdings of the photographer's work.

    Codrescu's spirited text helps to provide a sense of the aesthetic and political forces that were shaping Evans's art in the early 1930s. He argues that the photographs are the work of a young artist whose temperament was distinctly at odds with Beals's impassioned rhetoric and shows that Evans was just beginning to combine his early, formalist aesthetic with the social concerns that would figure so prominently in his later work. Together, the images and the insightful essay provide a compelling study of a major artist at an important juncture in his career.

    Andrei Codrescu is a poet, novelist, essayist, and commentator for National Public Radio. He is the author of Ay, Cuba! (Picador, 1999) and the founder of Exquisite Corpse: A Journal of Letters and Life. Judith Keller is senior curator in the Department of Photographs at the Getty Museum and author of Walker Evans: The Getty Museum Collection (Getty Publications, 1995).

    The hardcover edition of this book is out of stock indefinitely.

    Praise for the hardcover edition:

    "A beautiful and essential publication for those interested in Walker Evans, and an alluring and fascinating book for anyone interested in Cuba."
    —Black & White

    "Evans's pictures are lyrical observations of Havana's streets and people."
    —New York Times Book Review

    "Printed large in this album, [the pictures] all look marvelous."

    "Andrei Codrescu is a knowledgeable guide, and it's easy, it's pleasurable, to lose oneself in Old Havana without stirring from the comforts of home."
    —Easy Reader

    "The photographs in Cuba reveal an empathy for the downtrodden that would be expressed most famously in Evans's chronicle of Depression America, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.
    —Times Literary Supplement

    Selected for 2001 Best Books Issue
    —Los Angeles Times Book Review

    "Catches both the country and its American chronicler on the cusp of change."
    —Miami Herald

    96 pages
    11 1/2 x 10 inches
    73 duotone illustrations
    ISBN 978-1-60606-064-3

    Getty Publications
    Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum